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Planetary Alignment Myth

November 10, 2009

A NASA scientist de-bunks the myth that an alignment of the planets affects gravity on earth.


Planetary fact and fiction…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

It’s time for another episode of our new series, Reality Check, where we investigate paranormal claims, weird phenomena and science folklore. Listener Kacey Meeker of Berkeley, California, has heard that until November 15, a special planetary alignment will reduce gravity, causing things like broom handles to stand up by themselves. Well, NASA space scientist David Morrison says there is no planetary alignment happening right now, but even if there was…

DAVID MORRISON (NASA Ames Research Center):
There’d be no measurable effect. The gravitational pull on the earth of big planets like Jupiter very slightly, affects the orbit, but it doesn’t affect us on the surface at all. And so lining up a few planets just doesn’t make any difference.

And if your favorite science myth needs a reality check, give us a call at 1-800-why-isit. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.